Elaine May: What have you learned, Mike?
Mike Nichols: I’ve learned that many of the worst things lead to the best things, that no great thing is achieved without a couple of bad, bad things on the way to them, and that the bad things that happen to you bring, in some cases, the good things. For instance, if you grow up odd and—what is it when you’re left out? You’re not an extrovert—
Elaine May: Introvert?
Mike Nichols: No, when you grow up—
Elaine May: Peculiar?
Mike Nichols: Peculiar. Different. The degree to which you’re peculiar and different is the degree to which you must learn to hear people thinking. Just in self-defense you have to learn, where is their kindness? Where is their danger? Where is there generosity? If you survive, because you’ve gotten lucky—and there’s no reason ever to survive except luck—you will find that the ability to hear people thinking is incredibly useful, especially in the theater.
-- Vanity Fair